Thursday, July 06, 2017

Grade separation planned in Columbus, Ind.

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A rendering of the overpass of S.R. 46 above the L&I tracks. A rendering of the overpass of S.R. 46 above the L&I tracks. city of Columbus, Indiana

A $30-million grade separation will be built in Columbus, Ind., in anticipation of increased train traffic following planned upgrades CSX is making on the Louisville & Indiana (L&I) Railroad line between Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis, Ind.


The planned overpass would bring State Road 46, which is the primary entrance and exit for drivers into and out of downtown Columbus, over L&I tracks. CSX and L&I reached an agreement in 2015 for $100-million in upgrades to occur on the Louisville to Indianapolis route. The improvements on the rail line will be completed in mid-to-late 2018, after which CSX expects to begin increasing the number, size, weight and length of trains.

According to the city of Columbus, the rail solution was imperative to preserve productivity and quality of life for residents, businesses and the approximately 40,000 vehicles that use the rail crossing near the intersection of S.R. 46 and S.R. 11 daily. The city says it has relatively few entries from the west that cross these tracks and additional train traffic is expected to produce significant delays for those using these routes. A major employer in Columbus, Cummings Inc., is investing $50-million into its Columbus headquarters and a majority of its employees use S.R. 46 each day in their commute.

"We are grateful to all the parties who came together to reach a solution for the long-term success and sustainability of downtown Columbus businesses and residents," said Rich Freeland, president and COO, Cummins Inc. "A rail solution was critical to our future, and we are pleased to make a renewed commitment of approximately $50 million to our global headquarters in Columbus as we near the next hundred years of our company. Cummins will continue its commitment to architecture in our buildings and will ensure that the design of the overpass integrates well within the architectural legacy of Columbus and reflects the welcoming and progressive culture of this great community."

The State of Indiana, the city of Columbus, Bartholomew County, L&I Railroad and CSX came together to address the potential issue and arrived at the overpass solution, which will be financed by several parties, including the Indiana Department of Transportation, the city of Columbus, Bartholomew County and the railroads.

"This railroad overpass project demonstrates what is possible when business, state and local officials work together to find creative solutions that benefit Indiana communities," Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said. "I commend the team at Cummins for their ongoing collaboration and investment that benefits employees, the city of Columbus and our state's economic vitality."